Cape Cod Rugby’s First Game is a Win over a 9/11 Affiliated Boston Team
Cape Cod Rugby showed up on Sunday.
In a game where strong, hard-fought possessions put points on the board, rather than turnovers or penalties, Cape Cod Rugby team, playing this year on Sunday 9/11, triumphed 23-12 over a Division 4 rival, Boston Ironsides Rugby.
Cape Cod’s opponent, Boston Ironsides RFC, New England’s IGRAB or International Gay Rugby Associated and Board affiliated team, also has a significant association with 9/11. Boston Ironsides plays in The Bingham Cup, an international rugby tournament named in honor of Mark Bingham, an American gay hero of 9/11, who assisted in the commandeering of the take-down of Flight 93 which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania ten years ago.
Cape Cod’s squad, defending champion of Division 4, now begins their season 1-0.
Prior to the match, both teams, when taking to the pitch, offered a moment of silence for the fallen victims of 9/11. Brett Stevens, the team’s President and founder led both squads with inspirational words, as the teams looked towards the American flag on this sunny Sunday afternoon.
Cape Cod Rugby had home pitch advantage. A field in rugby is called a pitch. The home and practice pitch for Cape Cod Cutthroats is Camp Goodnews in Sandwich. “It’s only a 15 minute drive to practice,” says Falmouth resident and native Tim Souza.
Souza’s teammate Wayne Peace, scored nine minutes into the match. Cape Cod’s, Omar Rawlings, had the second score. However, neither player converted for the extra two points available after their try. A try is what’s equivalent to a football touchdown, it’s worth 5 points. As a result, with only two trys and no conversions, Cape Cod led Ironsides 10-0 at the end of the first 40-minute half.
The second half, the final 40 minutes, was more of a back and forth scoring event. Ironsides Rob Farenholz scored twice, and Cape Cod also scored two second half tries, as well as a three point penalty kick. One of the second half trys was scored by Irish native David Bowe.
David’s father Paul Bowe, said from the sidelines, “I’m rooting for Ireland in The Rugby World Cup, “which is playing now in New Zealand.” David’s brother, and Paul’s son, Tommy Bowe, who plays for Ireland’s national team, scored twice over USA earlier that day in a World Cup match. “It’s a shame though,” remarked Paul Bowe, “because of the earthquake all the matches which were to take place in Christchurch had to be moved.
Brent Stevens and Tim Souza are both rooting for USA in the World Cup. Stevens founded Cape Cod Rugby two years ago. Despite the sport not being as popular in America, as it is in Europe or The Southern Hemisphere, Stevens was surprised to see that there was not a club here on Cape Cod. Mr. Stevens has been given considerable help starting the club by former Falmouth high school rugby “Doc” Heard. “He is tremendous in coordinating us to practice here on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Camp Goodnews.” Falmouth high school no longer offers rugby as a sport. None of the Cape Cod players travel anymore than 35 minutes on the Cape to get to the pitch at Camp Goodnews.
Ironsides, Dan Branco, travels up from Little Compton, R.I. to Boston to practice with his squad. “I’m rooting for America in the Cup”, says 35 year old and ER Nurse, Dan Branco, “but a close second is The Springboks. A friend lent me the book, Playing The Enemy: Nelson Mandela and a Game That Changed a Nation, and I saw the Morgan Freeman/Matt Damon movie Invictus, inspired by the book and centered around Apartheid and Rugby.
Mr. Branco is looking forward to The Bingham Cup held in Manchester, UK in June 2012. “Today’s match against Cape Cod,” Branco said, “was the unofficial start to The Bingham Cup, so today’s loss is bittersweet, but Alice would be proud of how we played.” Alice, he is referring to is Alice Hoagland, Mark Bingham’s mother, a living American hero in her own right. She communicated the severity of the tragedy of the planes via cell phone up to her son Mark on the plane. Mark Bingham then knew it was an atypical hi-jacking, which subsequently factored into the decision by Mark and other men on Flight 93 to revolt against the terrorists.
Following the match, Tim Souza, was inspired to hear the story of Mark Bingham told by the Ironsides guys. During the game Souza played 8-man or Number Eight, not only the shirt’s number but an actual position in the sport of rugby. Souza was relayed how Alice flanks the sidelines at each biennial Bingham Cup holding the fallen 9/11 hero, Mark Bingham’s Number Eight jersey. “I am not surprised Bingham took control, 8-Man is a ‘take control’ position in the pack, the pack refers to the forwards, or what’s loosely equivalent to lineman in American football.
Mike Sullivan, 29, who played Number Eight for Boston Ironsides, remarked, “Mark’s story brings new meaning to the sport of rugby,” Sullivan said, “The Christchurch earthquake, Apartheid, the Bingham heroism, these all are horrific things, yet there seems to be something that comes encumbered with the sport of rugby where the sport and the rugby culture prevail over tragedy.”
And as for Cape Cod, they are looking to further prevail this season; we want the division four trophy again this October. Said Brett Stevens, “and we’re on the path to get there”